Mentally ill and (possibly) moving to Germany

Hello all! 

My girlfriend and I have been debating whether we should live in the US (Where I'm from) or Germany (where she's from) and one thing we keep coming back to is money, mainly because we are both disabled. 

I have schizoaffective disorder and a few other mental illnesses.  I'm not yet on disability benefits here in the US but I'm working with a lawyer to get it because o can't work any job, and while I have some books self published I do not have what it takes to make them successful (marketing is a job and I can't do it).  Also, the books bring in almost no money, maybe $10 or less a month on average. 

I've read, but don't know if it is true, that as long as I can keep my us citizenship (which can be done in a way I think I'd qualify for) I can receive my benefits from the US in Germany.
That would be great if I can get them in the first place.

I'm curious if I would count as disabled in Germany and if I would be able to get german benefits as a resident (say if I can't get or keep benefits from the US)?  My girlfriend is considered 100% disabled but her father manages the legal work for her, so she isn't sure how it works or how it would apply to me. 

Also, I'm a little worried, could they keep me from moving to Germany based on my mental illness?  Other than that, I am fairly healthy but my illness can be severe despite that I am considered on the “high functioning” end. 

Also, my girlfriend and I want to run a little farm.  If we can, will that impact our disability status?  I know how much I'm allowed to earn from work on disability here, but I do not know about Germany and I'll admit, I'm not very good with google.

I hope this isn't too much, this is just something I need help with.  I may not be able to go anytime too soon, but it is my future I feel.

Lots of issues here. For one, as an American you keep your citizenship until you deliberately give it up from abroad at a great cost; presently a 2350 USD fee. Moving abroad and even taking another citizenship, which is a years' long process - not just accomplished by marrying, does NOT mean you are no longer American. Marrying a German and residing in Germany doesn't make you a German citizen. It only sets you on the path to possible eventual naturalization. And if you then meet all of the many qualifications and are accepted for German citizenship, then the Germans, not the Americans, usually require you to renounce your US citizenship to get the German one. But there can be an exception. The details are too much off topic to go into here.

But whether a US citizen abroad gets any kind of benefits is something you should look into and not just assume. It will often depend on many factors.

Normally, Germany is very generous with severely permanently handicapped people but they have strict rules to decide who qualifies. And normally, one cannot immigrate to Germany on a family reunion visa unless the couple can earn enough money to live without any kind of social assistance. How it might work in such a situation with both partners being handicapped is beyond my expertise.

And anyone with a serious criminal record can pretty much forget even trying to immigrate. A mental health condition should not be a deciding factor per se – unless the person is considered dangerous to themselves or others.

It's likely difficult if not impossible at the moment to get answers from German consular officials in the US about such matters but you should really contact them. At best, people on this site can only refer to general rules or direct one to the German Immigration Authority website. But such complex matters due to your personal situation should be addressed to the deciding authorities.

And one can pretty much forget running a little farm here. There are possibilities in the States or say in France but in Germany one can forget it. Almost no little farms really exist and one would need millions to buy one. The best one might do is to find a small, old house in a small rural village that has a bit of land attached where one could keep some chicken s and goats.

Thank you!  I know our situation is tricky and that's why I decided to come here to begin asking questions. 

It is a lot to take in, but I'm glad you said what all you did! 

And yes, we are debating living in the us because our money will go farther but I know she is a bit afraid of such a move, but still we discuss it.

Thank you again!

As far as I remember, you are the first disabled person on this forumwanting to move to Germany and live on official handouts. So there isn't much expertise here.
But you may, if youare married and move here to join her, be entitled to such benefits - provided your disability is certified as such by the German authorities. They usually give a percentage rating (e.g. 50% disabled) based on the severity and you are then probably expected to earn at least that percentage of your living expenses (based on HartzIV rates, which are low subsistence level). The reminder may be subsidized by the government, if you are lucky and able to jump through several buerocratic loops and fillmany forms (which are, of course, entirely in German - what are your language skills?).

I used to be a lot better at the language than I am now.  I have various ways to practice, and I originally picked it up fairly easily.  I'm not too concerned about picking it up again once I sit down and really work on it. 

I hate the idea of living on handouts but I really don't have an option.  Wherever I live, I'm going to be disabled and I can't help that. The reason I'm possibly moving to Germany is because I love her and she really doesn't want to come here.  I can understand that and I imagine I'll adjust better to Germany than she will the states. 

I have a vague idea of how the disability stuff works there.  I remember she told me when she got 100% disability and was relieved.

Certification of being handicapped here can be tricky. A local assessment might come out very different than what one got elsewhere. Officials want to be fair but have strict standards; otherwise many people would claim to be handicapped. And this makes it all the more difficult in the realm of mental health since the handicaps usually can't be seen. And one must realize that many people have medical conditions like diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure. These are life threatening but with proper medication most can do most jobs without problem and will not be considered handicapped. So where is the cut off point for mental health? I think someone who is admittedly “high functioning” is going to have a challenge. But it certainly doesn't hurt to inquire with officials.